06 April 2014

Plans to overhaul GCSE timetable to avoid clash with Ramadan

Proposals to bring forward GCSE and A-level examinations so Muslim pupils aren't fasting for Ramadan during the exam season are to be debated at an education conference this month.

According to the Mail On Sunday, another option to be discussed at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers Union (ATL) conference is holding exams in the morning when fasting pupils are less likely to be hungry.

It has also been suggested that Muslim students who feel their performance has been affected by their fasting could be eligible for extra marks due to 'extenuating circumstances'.

[A COMMENT] .... will always remember the words of a SaudiAirline pilot, a Brit I think, from when I worked in Saudi Arabia in the early 80's. On approaching Riyadh airport he would announce: "We will presently be landing at King Khalid International Airport, please put your watches back 600 years"

[ANOTHER] What the hell is wrong with Britain? Nothing annoys me more than this b.......!!! They would not change a thing for us so when the hell are we pampering to them? You choose to live in Britain, you abide by British laws or get the hell out. [The Telegraph] Read more

05 April 2014

Bid to bring forward GCSEs so Muslim pupils aren't fasting for Ramadan while they take their exams

GCSE and A-level examinations could be brought forward for hundreds of thousands of pupils to avoid a clash with Ramadan under controversial proposals.

Teachers and lecturers in England and Wales are pushing for the summer exam timetable to be altered to help Muslim students who will be fasting when they sit papers.

School exam boards and universities are considering the radical shake-up from 2016, when the religious period of Ramadan clashes with the exam season.

[A COMMENT] Muslims do not have to fast during Ramadan. They can make up for it at another tome of the year. Keep the exams as they are and stop giving special attention to this group.

[ANOTHER] Is there anything else that we can change for them while we're at it? There can't be many things left!!! [Daily Mail] Read more

Muslim parent: Radical school is brainwashing our children

Children at one of the state schools taken over by hardline Muslims are being “programmed” and have been “drilled” by their teachers to lie to Ofsted inspectors investigating the plot, according to a parent.

Mohammed Zabar, the father of a 10-year-old girl attending Oldknow Academy in Birmingham, today becomes the first person to speak openly about events at his daughter’s school.

Mr Zabar, 44, decided to break his silence after The Sunday Telegraph described how teachers at the supposedly secular school led children in anti-Christian chanting, stopped them from celebrating Christmas, organised subsidised trips to Mecca and required all pupils to learn Arabic.

[A COMMENT] .... These stories make me want to weep, and we can all see similar things going on all around us. When I was at school all ethnicities and religions muddled on together, no special treatment, no ostentatiously identifiable religious clothing just children of different ethnicities and religions living in a liberal democracy and getting on with learning. [The Telegraph] Read more

Couple gets death over 'blasphemous' text message

A court in eastern Pakistan has sentenced a Christian couple to death for sending a blasphemous text message insulting to Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), their lawyer said Saturday.

Judge Mian Amir Habib handed the death sentence to Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar in a jail in the town of Toba Tek Singh on Friday, defence lawyer Nadeem Hassan told AFP.

Prosecution department officials confirmed the sentence.

The impoverished couple, who are in their forties, have three children and live in the town of Gojra, which has a history of violence against Christians, Hassan said. [AFP] Read more

04 April 2014

France's far-right to ban faith-based school lunch options

Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen said on Friday it would prevent schools from offering special lunches to Muslim pupils in the 11 towns it won in local elections, saying such arrangements were contrary to France's secular values.

France's republic has a strict secular tradition enforceable by law, but faith-related demands have risen in recent years, especially from the country's five-million-strong Muslim minority, the largest in Europe.

"We will not accept any religious demands in school menus," Le Pen told RTL radio. "There is no reason for religion to enter the public sphere, that's the law." [Reuters] Read more

Stockton Morrisons warehouse manager claims he gave muslim couple special treatment

The manager who dealt with a Muslim couple who claim to have been unfairly denied holidays over Ramadan told a tribunal that he frequently gave them special treatment.

A tribunal at Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard claims from Donna and Yassin Tunkara, who say they suffered discrimination, harassment, victimisation and constructive dismissal after bosses at the Portrack Lane warehouse of supermarket giant Morrisons, in Stockton, turned down holiday requests for August 2012.

Peter Woodward, giving evidence, said that he had personally dealt with the request for time off to fast during the last two weeks of Ramadan. [GazetteLive] Read more

Lutfur Rahman, council assets and close personal allies: the evidence

At 8 this morning, Government inspectors arrived on the doorstep of Lutfur Rahman’s Tower Hamlets Council, with the power to enter any council building, seize any document and speak to any member of staff. A file has also been handed to the police. Computers have been locked down by the inspectors, I am told, and documents removed.

In its letter appointing the inspectors, the Department for Communities and Local Government asked them to pay particular attention to, among other things, “the authority’s payment of grants,” a subject we covered on the blog yesterday, and the “transfer of property to third parties.” That’s what today’s blog is about. [The Telegraph] Read more

Birmingham 'Trojan Horse' plot 'started 20 years ago'

A former teacher at a Birmingham school alleged to be part of an "Islamic takeover plot" says concerns were first raised more than 20 years ago.

Michael White, who was dismissed in 2003 from Park View School, in Alum Rock, said its board of governors was "taken over by a Muslim sect" in 1993.

He said he told the local education authority (LEA) but his claims were not investigated.

Tahir Alam, chair of governors at Park View, denied Mr White's claims. [BBC] Read more

Far right mayors may insist on pork in school cafeterias

France’s newly elected far-right mayors will re-instate school cafeteria menus featuring pork in the cities they govern, the National Front party’s leader, Marine Le Pen, announced on Friday.

Most French public schools offer an option with no pork for Muslim and Jewish students who follow their religions’ dietary restrictions.

“We will not except any religious requirements when it comes to school cafeteria menus,” Le Pen declared on French radio network RTL, in response to a question about the measures the National Front would implement in the cities they won in last week’s municipal elections. “There is absolutely no reason for religion to enter into the public sphere; that’s the law.” [FRANCE 24] Read more

03 April 2014

UK: Our New Sharia Law

.... The strangest thing of all about this is not the slow erosion of the principle of one law for all. It is not even the offering up of an increasing number of parts of British life to an extremist ideology. It is the ease with which it is all done. "This is not chopping off hands," Sharia's defenders say, scoffingly. "It is not chopping off heads or lashing people," they continue.

Some people already complain that critics of Sharia are giving Sharia as a whole a bad name, lumping in the "bad" Sharia with the "good" Sharia. In reality, of course, Sharia law, officially adopted just this week by Brunei, apparently complete with amputations and stoning, is not compatible with law as we have been practicing it for over 2000 years in the West.

The short-term political gains for the political leaders who support it hardly seem worth the long-term losses that will befall our society if we continue incorporating this system of law into our national life. If we are indeed seeing the beginning of this process, we are far from seeing what lies at the end of it. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Birmingham Muslim school probe 'glacial', MP Byrne says

An investigation into an alleged plot by Muslim hard-liners to take control of several schools in Birmingham must report immediately, an MP has demanded.

Claims that 12 schools in the city have been targeted are being investigated by the Department for Education and Birmingham City Council.

Ofsted revealed on Wednesday that inspectors were visiting two schools.

Labour's Liam Byrne told Radio 4's Today programme the Ofsted probe had been a "glacial process".

Mr Byrne's Hodge Hill constituency includes one of the schools named as part of the alleged plot - Park View Academy.

He said "We just need the truth on the table now." [BBC] Read more

The British Muslim is truly one among us – and proud to be so

.... The integration of Muslims can now be seen as one of the great success stories of modern Britain. While the Dutch and the French have huge troubles with integration, and are caught in agonised struggles about their national identities, Britain is marked out by the trouble that we are not having. Dig a little deeper, and the real story is the striking amount of harmony.

[A COMMENT] Yes, a Mosque coming to your patch soon, over 1500 and rising. They look so at home glittering in the English countryside. The next task is to build 1500 Christian Churches in Saudi Arabia, anyone up for it. Should be easy, it was easy here. [The Telegraph] Read more

Lutfur Rahman's Muslim favouritism: the evidence

Over the next few weeks, this blog will be setting out in detail the truth about Lutfur Rahman, the extremist-linked mayor of Tower Hamlets, and the full evidence against him. I should stress that, over the last four years, all our material about Lutfur and his extremist allies has survived literally hundreds of complaints to Ofcom and the Press Complaints Commission.

Rahman’s supporters make two main defences: first, that in the words of the Guardian’s Dave Hill, “if Rahman has sinned, how many others are doing so all day, every day in ways that, in the end, differ if at all only in the means and detail?”

To the contrary, this series of blog posts will show that what is happening in Tower Hamlets is on a completely different plane from normal political behaviour. [The Telegraph] Read more

British Woman Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht Held In Iran For 'Insulting Islam' On Facebook

The 47-year-old is being held on suspicion of plotting to commit crimes against security and insulting Islam. Taghipoor said it is over comments she made on Facebook about the Iranian government being "too Islamic".

The charge is "insulting Islamic sanctities", which can carry the death penalty. She is being held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, where several political prisoners have been held. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

02 April 2014

British woman Roya Nobakht could be executed in Iran after insulting Islam on Facebook

A British woman has been locked up in Iran for five months after posting derogatory comments about the country's government on Facebook and fears she will be executed, her husband has said.

Concerns are growing for the welfare of Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, 47, from Stockport, who has been charged with "insulting Islamic sanctities", a crime which can be punishable by death. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said it was "urgently" looking into her case. However, Britain currently has no embassy in Iran, making any negotiations more difficult. [The Independent] Read more

Is Canada's multiculturalism in peril?

Canada is widely hailed as a multicultural success state. As the first country to adopt multiculturalism as official policy, and with high rates of integration among immigrant populations, it is often looked at as a model to be followed. Recently, though, the French province of Quebec has dented this global reputation with the introduction of Bill 60, popularly known as the Quebec Charter of Values.

Boasting the notion of "state neutrality" on matters of religion, the charter seeks to limit the wearing of "ostentatious" religious symbols for all state personnel. This would essentially result in a ban on the use of Muslim veils, Sikh turbans, Jewish kippas, and any large Christian crosses, for all public employees, from civil servants to doctors and teachers.

[A COMMENT] Multiculturalism is fine in theory except when confronted with the Islam. At is core Islam is fundamentally illiberal, supremacist in nature and extremely intolerant of minorities, women, and LGBT's when it is in the majority. Time to assert the superiority of Western values even at the expense of 'offending' followers of a primitive set of 7th century Iron Age precepts and make no apologies for doing so. [Al Jazeera] Read more

Probe into 'Islamic plot' to take over schools expanded following fresh claims from headteachers

Education chiefs probing an alleged plot by Muslim extremists to take over Birmingham schools have been 'inundated' with fresh reports from headteachers.

It is understood Birmingham City Council is set to draft in extra staff to examine claims hard-line Islamists schemed to remove non-Muslim staff from schools and 'indoctrinate' pupils.

The so-called 'Trojan Horse' plot is also being investigated by Ofsted and the Department for Education. At least 12 schools are currently thought to be under review. [The Mirror] Read more

Muslim couple claim they were victimised by Morrisons after they were refused holiday during Ramadan

A married couple claim they were victimised at work due to their religious beliefs after being refused holidays during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Donna Tunkara, 32, and husband Yassin, 31, say they suffered discrimination, harrassment, victimisation and constructive dismissal after bosses at the Portrack Lane warehouse in Stockton-on-Tees of supermarket giant Morrisons turned down holiday requests in 2012. [Daily Mail] Read more

Why is the Law Society throwing its weight behind a regressive form of Islam?

After all, sharia wills are perfectly common: the law places almost no restrictions on how you distribute your assets after you’re gone, so if you want to discriminate against your female relatives – whether for religious reasons or simply out of good old-fashioned misogyny – nobody can stop you.

.... But this isn't the whole story: both practically and symbolically the move undermines the axiom that all British people – male and female; gay and straight; Muslim, Christian and atheist – should be equal under the law. As Charlie Klendijan of the Lawyers’ Secular Society explained to me, “The Law Society’s guidance notes have a special influence and prestige.

They’re the recognised benchmark of ‘good practice’ for all solicitors, so they have a major impact on how law is practiced in this country. By publishing this guidance note, it has effectively legitimised sharia in the eyes of the legal world.”

[A COMMENT] I agree that here are Muslims who adhere to Islam's fixed values to various degrees, but the values themselves have remained unchanged for around 1,400 years. The so-called 'extremists' adhere rigidly to these values, and the so-called 'moderates' play fast and loose with them.

As a parallel example, your comment is like saying that there are reformist vegetarians who eat meat now and again. But the fact remains that vegetarianism is a meat free diet and that's a fixed given. You can't change the core fundamentals of an ideology by saying that adherents don't always stick to them. [The Independent] Read more

Brother Tariq and Baroness Warsi

Let’s say someone offered this stupid, callous and offensive observation on Mohamed Merah’s terrorist murder spree in Toulouse in 2012:

"Politically, he was a young man adrift, imbued neither with the values of Islam, nor driven by racism and anti-Semitism. Young, disoriented, he shot at targets whose prominence and meaning seem to have been chosen based on little more than their visibility." [Harry’s Place] Read more

01 April 2014

Birmingham Muslim MP Khalid Mahmood says city schools are being targeted by Islamic fundamentalists

A Birmingham MP has claimed hard-line Muslims are trying to ‘indoctrinate’ pupils at some inner-city schools.

Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood spoke after new claims emerged that up to twelve schools are being looked at by the Department for Education and Ofsted.

Allegations of an organised plot by fundamentalists to take over secular schools, dubbed operation Trojan Horse, are currently under investigation by Birmingham City Council.

A supposed leaked document outlined an alleged campaign to use ‘dirty tricks’ to sideline non-Muslim headteachers and staff, replacing them with staff sympathetic to the hard-line view. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Saudi Arabia declares atheists terrorists under new laws targeting citizens who 'call for secular thought in any form'

Saudi Arabia has officially identified atheists as terrorists in sweeping new laws that threaten up to 20 years in prison for almost any criticism of the government or Islam.

The regulations place secular citizens who commit thought crimes in the same category as violent terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda's Yemen branch and Saudi Hezbollah.

.... But the law also applies to any Saudi citizen or a foreigner residing in the kingdom that 'calls for atheist thought in any form or calls into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based.'

[A COMMENT] They must feel very insecure about their own beliefs if they are so keen to prevent others from having a different point of view.

[ANOTHER] .... meanwhile back in the dark ages... [Daily Mail] Read more

Halal Meat Is Safe With Me, Says David Cameron

David Cameron has promised that halal slaughter will be "safe in Britain" for as long as he remains in power, decrying the "intolerance" towards Muslims that exists in some parts of the country.

[A COMMENT] So why on earth does someone have the right to cause unnecessary pain to an animal "simply because of the faith they follow"?

[ANOTHER] Quote - He also pledged to keep on tackling Islamophobia, saying Britain must "stamp out once and for all the intolerance that blights people's lives." So that must mean a blanket ban of religion. Go for it Dave!

As for slaughter by bleeding an animal to death, that is nothing to do with islamophobia or antisemitism. It is to do with not causing any more suffering than in neccessary to kill the animal.

It is not as if all the old testament laws are still allowed, like stoning for adultary and forcing rape victims to marry their attackers. Things get updated to fit with civilized practice and it is long time that kosher and halal meat joined the 'things we used to allow before we knew better' list. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

31 March 2014

London borough of Tower Hamlets could face inspection

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said he may send in inspectors to investigate a London borough.

Panorama has found that Lutfur Rahman, the Bangladeshi mayor of Tower Hamlets, has more than doubled funding recommended by officers for Bengali-run charities.

Opposition councillors say they believe the grants were made in return for electoral support.

Mr Rahman categorically denies the accusation.

In 2010, residents of Tower Hamlets voted in Britain's first directly elected Asian mayor.

Mr Rahman won as an independent with only 13% of registered voters.

Almost two-thirds of those who turned out to vote that day were from his own Bangladeshi community. [BBC] Read more

Lutfur Rahman faces government investigation after failing to stop BBC Panorama exposé

Lutfur Rahman, the extremist-linked mayor of Tower Hamlets, is a worried man today. As I reported in this morning’s paper, the Government finally appears to be gearing up for a full investigation into his incredible regime, the subject of a broadcast by the BBC’s Panorama tonight.

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, tells the programme that the allegations against Lutfur are of “a completely different magnitude to the worries and concerns that I have with other councils” and accuses him of “abusing his position”.

[A COMMENT] Are we all feeling enriched yet? are we all loving the Multiculti experience? Just 3 decades to go and people like this will be running the country, but at least we didn't get called racist, and that's what matters. [The Telegraph] Read more